Member States continue to adopt national and divergent rules on hydraulic fracturing across Europe.  Last week, the United Kingdom facilitated hydraulic fracturing operations by adopting its Infrastructure 2015 Act.  In contrast, Germany is considering the adoption of a legislative proposal that is intended to be more restrictive than the European Commission’s Recommendation on Hydraulic Fracturing

While the European Commission’s Recommendation on Shale Gas of  January 22, 2014 is not legally binding, it may have different legal impacts on EU institutions and agencies as well as public authorities and private parties in the EU Member States.  The attached article published in the Environmental Law Reporter describes four different legal scenarios that

The Polish government has proposed new draft rules on the prospection, exploration and extraction of hydrocarbons as well as their taxation that aim to facilitate the development of shale gas operations in Poland.

The proposed amendments to the Geological and Mining Law would significantly streamline the procedures to grant concessions and also extend concession periods. 

On January 22, 2014, the European Commission published its Communication and Recommendation on Shale Gas.  The documents finally published are essentially the same as the draft versions that we reported in our blog post of January 17, 2014 and only introduce minor changes.

Among other things, the Recommendation now confirms that it “neither implies that

The European Commission is expected to adopt a communication and recommendation on the exploration and production of unconventional hydrocarbons (especially shale gas).  The draft communication and recommendation, which are still subject to change, are being discussed among the cabinets of the 28 Commissioners of the European Commission as part of the 2030 climate change package, which the Commission intends to present on January 22, 2014.

The draft communication and recommendation are likely to be seen as a political compromise within the Commission and among Member States.  The two documents also allow the Commission to provide non-binding rules on the exploration and exploitation of shale gas in Europe for the next 18 months, a transitional period during which a new European Parliament must be elected and a new Commission must enter into office.  In effect, the draft communication and recommendation leave it to the next Commission to decide whether to propose binding legislation if the recommendation is not sufficiently effective.
Continue Reading The Upcoming European Commission’s Recommendation on Shale Gas: A Transitional Political Compromise?